We had to say goodbye to an old friend this weekend. It was one of the hardest goodbyes I have ever had to say. Sure, I've had friends I've known longer but this friend was by far the most loyal I have ever known and probably ever will. We met Piper almost eleven years ago when she was about five months old. I remember seeing the ad in the paper for a guy on the west side of the city who had several lab retrievers for sale, so Kevin and I went to take a look. There were two goldens, a chocolate lab and then there was Piper. She was a beautiful, pale yellow and had such an interested little face. She was the first one to come up to us and lick our hands, so we decided to take her home. She sat on my lap and was very calm the whole way back to our apartment. I knew right away we'd be good friends.
We lived in high rise facing the lake, so potty training Piper was a little tricky. We'd take the elevator down five floors and out to the vacant lot at the end of the block. Piper on a leash was something to see - she acted like it was posessing her. When we finally did make it to the lot, I swear we'd stand there for days while she sat on her little white butt watching the cars pass on the busy street. After awhile, we'd get tired of standing there and head back up the elevator. We'd no sooner get inside the door and she'd squat a pee right on the carpet. But after awhile, she got the hang of it. Well, sort of.
We had lots of adventures with her living in the city. Most of them are funny to me now, but they sure weren't at the time! We dropped out of puppy training school because she was so embarassing to take. We gave up on teaching her to walk properly on the leash. We had to avoid that vacant lot after having to fish certain trash items (condoms, food wrappers, etc) out of her mouth AND after she urinated on a homeless man sleeping in said vacant lot. We learned to double check that her leash was attached properly to her collar when she got loose and ran between four lanes of traffic during rush hour on Sheridan Road. We found out that she had a fondness for bras and bikini tops when she repeatedly ripped apart several high end bras of mine - picture my face walking into our apartment (after running down to the laundry room for two seconds) to find her looking sheepish with a little pink bow stuck to her upper lip. Oh, there are so many funny stories of Piper and her city life.
A couple of months after getting Piper, we found out I was pregnant with Ethan. She knew before I did and she didn't want a thing to do with me. She detested me being pregnant. She went on a bra eating spree, shredded our mattress pad and chewed off one end of our bed posts. It was mayhem, but it only lasted nine months. Once we moved to the suburbs and brought Ethan home from the hospital, she forgave me for being pregnant. Piper loved Ethan and would always lay right next to his bassinet and hover over him when he cried. And once he was mobile, she let him climb all over her and never seemed the least bothered or annoyed when he was a little bit too rough. She loved every single one of the kids, but always had a special place for "her boy."
We had lots more adventures out here in the burbs - like the time she chewed the end of her leash off while we were moving in to our first home. I ran all over the neighborhood nine months pregnant until we finally found her assaulting some yippy little dogs in the park. And God love her, she never let anything grow in the backyard. Any time you'd look out back and couldn't see her, you knew she was either destroying some vegetation or taking a dump in the flower beds by the air conditioner. That was like her big, "Hey guys, F U." :) Oh, Piper.
When Olivia was sick as a baby and I would come home from the hospitals to shower, change clothes and have a good cry - Piper would sit with me. She always kept me company and made me feel safe when Kevin was working late after the kids had all gone to bed. I had no idea how much more than a friend she would be that day we brought her home all those years ago. Right now I feel like I will never get used to her being gone. It feels weird and wrong. I've gone to the back door to let her in at least ten times today. I suppose it will get easier as time passes, but for now I just miss her. She was one of a kind and we're so lucky she was our dog!!! Thanks to everyone who has cried with me over the past few days, sent emails, text messages and phone calls. We appreciate them so much. It was a good eleven years!!!
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